2400Km of Solo Spiti Sauntering – Day 7 – Kaza and around

2400Km of Solo Spiti Sauntering – Compendium – Links to rest of the Spiti travelog

Day 7 – Sat, Sep 9 2017 – Kaza and around

Day 7 – Route Map

Today was allocated to hang around Kaza and nearby places. Not using that as an opportunity to sleep late, I was out on the road by 0550 and headed towards Key Monastery. Wanted to see the sun rise over the place.


A small kid waiting for transport outside Kaza Monastery

Bridge to Losar. Road straight goes to Key and Kibber

First rays of sun across the river. Somewhere up there is the Kunzum Pass

Key Monastery

Reaching the monastery, I realized that it was in the shadow of mountain and it would be  a long time before sunshine would reach the walls of the monastery. Deciding to head down towards the river, I found a dirt track which would take me down. However later I realized that the track ended in fields and then a steep drop down to the river.

Dirt track towards going down towards the river.

A 9 picture panorama of the Spiti river with mountains across and moon setting. Large image here.

Found one shop open in the Key village and stopped for tea. While drinking tea, I could see wide landscape across the river. It looked like I would get good views of the monastery on the other side. Subsequently I decided to ride over. Went back towards Kaza and then crossed the bridge towards Losar. After Rangrik, took a small trail to the edge of the cliffs. Key Monastery was just across the river, still in shadows.

The sun was nice and warm. Just sitting there watching the smoke from morning cooking drift out of the monastery was relaxing and exhilarating.

Road after Rangrik

A small rudimentary Chorten and Key Monastery across the river. Key Village is on the right.

A local women working in the fields.

First rays of morning on Key Monastery

Prayers with a monastery view

Returning to the Kaza I first went to the market. Walked the length and then settled in a small restaurant next to the bus stop for breakfast of parantha and omelet. Then I returned to the hotel. I washed some of my clothes and hung them out to dry in the sun. Then I took a short nap.

Waking up I lay around lazily and eventually forced myself to get ready. Leaving the hotel,  I headed towards Key Monastery.

Saw a mechanic shop on way out of Kaza. Got my air filter clean and chain lubed.

As I was driving alongside the river, I had that deep urge to take a dip in the waters. I had been wanting to do that, but forgot to get my synthetic shorts and towel. Still I drove down to the water. Looking around I found a spot away from the road and behind a clump of bushes. No one would have minded me having a skinny-dip in the river. So taking off all my clothes in I went. The water was quite comfortable and it was fun splashing around in waist deep waters.

Skinny Dipping.

Key Monastery

Entry gate to Key Monastery

After a good refreshing bath, I went to the Key Monastery. Splashing around in the water had made me hungry. So after parking I straight went to the restaurant. Saturday is a holiday for the monastery kids. So a bunch of them were hanging around. I spent a while talking to them.

Subsequently I had thopka for lunch. Feeling lazy to walk up to the monastery, I drove towards Kibber.

 

Saturday was a break from studies for the kids at the Monastery. So they were hanging around the restaurant.

Striking a pose.

A few kids walking up to the Monastery

Kibber is a small picturesque village located  high above the Spiti River Valley and a small monastery. After the key Monastery the road changes into a dirt track going though some beautiful terrain. Side roads go to Chicham and Tashigong which I skipped. Drove around the village of Kibber and then turned back.

Road to Chicham

Village of Kibber

Kibber Monastery

Chorten above Kibber Village

Key Monastery from the road returning from Kibber.

Road workers taking a lunch break.

When I returned to the hotel, the owner was siting outside. I sat down with him for a while and chit-chatted away. During the conversation we talked about local food and we decided on Thingmo and Mutton Shapta for dinner. His cook who was from outside Spiti did not know how to cook local cuisine. So he promised that he’ll have someone in his home cook for me.

After a while I took leave of him and went to Kaza market.

Last rays of sun on the hills beyond Kaza.

Kaza is more like a small village rather than a town. However the market was bustling with both locals and tourists. I parked my bike at one end and then walked along the length of the market.

In one of the by-lanes saw this nice restaurant – The Himalayan Cafe,  with a placard saying local fish. I took a seat in the open area. When I ordered fish, I was told it would take 45-50min. Didn’t want to wait. So ordered a plate of momos and coffee. After a wait of 30min it started getting cold. So I shifted inside. The ambience inside was nice. After a further wait of 10-15min the momos cafe. Was wondering whether I should have asked for the fish. But then that may have taken even longer.

The moms weren’t that great and coffee somewhat cold. I probably should have tried some local place.

Walked a little more around the market. There was no electricity. Many shops had emergency lights. Others were dark or closed.

After a while returned to the hotel.

Momo and Coffee at The Himalayan Cafe

Kaza market

Returning back to the hotel I packed my bags and then reviewed some pictures. Around 2100, I had dinner. As promised by the owner I was served Tingmo with Mutton Shapta. Excellent combination and I loved the taste of Tingmo dipped in the spicy gravy of Shapta.

Tingmo with Mutton Shapta

Milky Way

After dinner, I headed out to do some night sky photos. The moon was quite bright. Didn’t get anything interesting. Returned to hotel and went to sleep by 2300.

Day Stats

Distance: 99.9Km
Start/End Time: Random
Expenses – Food: Rs805/-
Expenses – Fuel: Rs300/-
Expenses – Stay: Rs800/-

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